Image shows the bodies of civilians killed in shelling the main market in Atarib city located in the west countryside of Aleppo, on November 13, 2017. Photo credit: Atarib Coordination
A Horrific Massacre Kills Up To 65 People in Atarib, Aleppo Countryside
The Massacre Occurred After A Warplane Believed to be Russian Bombed the Town's Popular Market
Preface: At least sixty-five people, including women and children, were killed and up to 100 others were injured due to shelling the major popular market in Atarib city located in the west countryside of Aleppo, on Monday 13, November, 2017. The market was bombed by warplanes that carried out three consecutive airstrikes in which it dropped six high-explosive rockets. According to testimonies obtained by Syrians for Truth and Justice-STJ, specifically from the observatories monitoring the flights, the two aircrafts that carried out the bombing were launched from Hmeimim, the military air base in Latakia. According to STJ reporter, the market was targeted in the afternoon while it was full of civilians, and caused a large number of civilian victims; quoting eyewitnesses, one of the three airstrikes targeted the "Free Police Station" located at the entrance of the main market, so several deaths and injuries were recorded from the police members, too.
Military and Political Context
On May 4, 2017, the sponsoring states of Astana Talks (Russia, Turkey and Iran) signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria; these areas included Idlib province, some parts of northern Homs province, as well as some parts of adjacent provinces (Latakia, Hama, and Aleppo), Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside and some parts of southern Syria. Despite this agreement, several activists from Atarib said that they did not have information whether the city is included in the de-escalation zone agreement or not.
On the other hand, the Civil Administration, elected by the locals and represented by the local council of Atarib, manages the city affairs since the beginning of 2015, and according to STJ reporter, there are no military headquarters in Atarib. Some persons from Atarib belong to Faylaq al-Sham faction that is affiliated to the Syrian armed opposition but they do not have a role in the work of the Civil Administration, noting that Faylaq al-Sham is one of the military factions that participated in Astana Talks.
A map shows areas of control in northern Syria,
First: Testimonies of Survivors from the Massacre
Omar al-Ahmad, a man from Atarib, who was near the popular market at the time of targeting it by several successive raids, spoke to STJ about the incident and said:
“It was 14:08 pm when I was at my shop putting away some goods and suddenly I heard the sound of a warplane hovering in the air. Immediately the people hurried to shelter into the shops located in the market, and only a few moments, the aircraft raided and we heard the sound of successive explosions. The aircraft raided again, and after a few minutes, the aircraft mounted a third raid. All I remember is that destruction was everywhere; once the airstrikes ended, I went to the market to see if I could help, and I was seized with terror got panic from the catastrophe; the bodies of children and women were scattered everywhere, and cries of the wounded were filling the place. Everyone needed help, from the injured persons to the people trapped under the rubble; it was an unimaginable scene."
Images show the extent of devastation inflicted on the main popular market in Atarib following shelling it on November 13, 2013, by a warplane believed to be affiliated to the Russian Air Force.
Photo credit: the Atarib Coordination Facebook Page.
A video footage televised by Orient TV showed the extent of devastation and damage to the main market within Atarib, as a result of bombing it on November 13, 2017, by a warplane believed to be affiliated to the Russian Air Force.
Whereas another video footage published by the Civil Defense center in Aleppo showed that work of the Civil Defense teams continued until late at night to pull out the trapped from under the rubble in the main market in Atarib in the wake of the attack on November 13, 2017.
In another testimony by Abu Adel, who hails from Atarib and who was slightly injured in shelling the main market in the city, he said to STJ:
"While I was having lunch with a friend of mine at a popular restaurant inside the market, a warplane launched the first airstrike, and we found ourselves under the rubble as a result of collapse of the walls and the roof of the restaurant.After that, I lost consciousness, I did not realize how many raids followed the first one, but all I remember is that I woke up on the sound of ambulances, and I remembered my friend; I called him a lot over and over, but in vain. I was shocked to see that wall of the restaurant had collapsed over him directly and caused him lost his life. As for me, I was slightly injured, and the Civil Defense teams transferred me to the hospitals in Atarib city which were full of corpses and wounded people."
Image of the victim Husam Zreiq, a friend of the witness Abu Adel, following his death in the bombardment of the main market in Atarib by a warplane likely to be affiliated with the Russian Air Force on November 13, 2017.
Photo credit:Atarib Coordination Facebook Page.
Image of some of victims of children being killed and wounded in the bombardment of the main market in Atarib by a warplane likely to be affiliated with the Russian Air Force on November 13, 2017.
Photo credit: The Atarib Coordination Facebook Page.
Mohammed Shakurdi, an activist from Atarib, confirmed to STJ, that at about 14:08, a warplane, believed to be affiliated to the Russian Air Force, conducted three consecutive airstrikes loaded with six high-explosive rockets on the main market in Atarib city; the rockets fell in places only a few meters away from each other. In this regard, he said:
"The warplane launched its first raid on the market, and just a minute later the second raid took place, followed by the third raid in less than two minutes. Immediately after the strike, I went to the market to see what happened, and the western side of the market was completely destroyed, while bodies of the dead and the injured were scattered everywhere; the Civil Defense was trying to save as much civilians as possible, given the horror of the massacre."
The child, Ayman Zarzor, who has not yet reached the age of 7, was one of the victims who died as a result of the intense shelling of the main market inside Atarib; this was confirmed by Hussein Zarzor, a relative of the victim, he said to STJ:
"Ayman was a little child with special needs, he had polio, and all I know is that he was with his mother in the market when the warplane attacked. Ayman died in the shelling, while his mother was seriously injured, she had bleeding in the head so she was transferred to a Turkish hospital for cure. Ayman was the only child to his poor family who displaced from al-Leramon town in the northern countryside of Aleppo several years ago."
Image of the victim, the child Ayman Zarzor, who was killed as a result of the major market bombardment in Atarib on November 13, 2017.
Photo credit: STJ
Second: Traffic of the Warplane That Targeted the Main Market in Atarib
At 14:00 pm, on Monday 13 November 2013, two aircrafts likely to belong to the Russian Air Force took off from Hmeimim Military Base (Basil al-Assad Airport) located in Jablah city in Latakia province, passed the Latakia Mountains range and headed east, and then deviated northwards and crossed Jabal al-Zawiya area through the skies of Idlib city, after that, they returned to the east until they reached the southern countryside of Aleppo, and to the north until they reached Khan Tuman town, and then headed westward, until they became in the skies of the northwest countryside of Aleppo, heading south towards to Atarib. Mohammed Bakkor, the supervisor of Atarib Observatory, which monitors and controls the movement of warplanes in the city’s skies through special surveillance devices, confirmed this. The Observatory transports such information to the Civil Defense teams through radios and to civilians in order to shelter from aerial bombardments. Mohammed added:
"When the two Russian aircrafts became inside the area of operation, one of them carried out the first raid on the popular market in the middle of Atarib at 14:08 pm. Immediately, the other Russian aircraft carried out the second raid on the market 14:12 pm, and then the first aircraft turned and returned to the city's skies to target the market in the third raid. After that, the two aircrafts returned to Hmeimim Military Base."
A satellite image illustrates the strike location on the main market within Atarib.
A satellite image illustrates the location of the six rockets in the main market within Atarib.
An image shows the location of the first rocket in the main market in Atarib.
Photo credit: Mohammed Shakurdi.
Analysis of visual evidence illustrates the location of the first rocket.
Image shows the location of the second rocket, specifically on the Free Police Station at the entrance of the main market in Atarib.
Photo credit: The activist Mohammed Shakurdi.
Analysis of visual evidence illustrates the location of the second rocket on the Free Police Station located at the entrance to the main market in Atarib.
Image shows the location of the third rocket in the main market in Atarib. Photo credit: The activist Mohammed Shakurdi.
Analysis of visual evidence of the location of the third rocket.
An image taken from a video televised by Orient TV, which illustrates the location of the fourth rocket in the main market in Atarib.
Analysis of visual evidence of the location of the fourth rocket.
Image illustrates the location of the fifth rocket in the main market in Atarib.
Photo credit: The activist Mohammed Shakurdi.
Analysis of visual evidence of the location of the fifth rocket.
Image shows the location of the sixth rocket that fell on the main market in Atarib.
Photo credit: The activist Mohammed Shakurdi.
Analysis of visual evidence of the location of the sixth rocket.
Third: List of the Dead Victims
In turn, STJ has been able to verify name of some civilian casualties through their reporter on the ground and through other sources such as the Civil Defense teams in Aleppo city and activists from Atarib city. Moreover, names of deaths from the Free Police Station in Atarib were documented. In addition to the names of some of the missing. The death toll reached up to 60 people, including women and children, and the number is still likely to increase, as many people remain missing.
Names of the Civilians Killed Due to Shelling the Main Market in Atarib
- Rashad Mohammed Abdrrahim, a civilian.
- Ali Shereqi, a civilian.
- Omar Ali Rasheed, a civilian.
- Abdulqader Mohammed Eid al-Badawi, a civilian.
- Mohammed Khalid Mesto, a civilian.
- Hussein Mar’ei, a civilian.
- Abdullah Abdrrahim, a civilian.
- Omar Abdo Rasheed, a civilian.
- Yousef as-Saleet, a civilian.
- Ali Hallaq, a civilian.
- As’ad Haj Taher, a civilian.
- Mohammed Ammar Deebo, a civilian.
- Hazim Khaled Deebo Ibrahim, a civilian.
- Nasir Haj Mar’ei, a civilian.
- Mohammed Nasir Hej Mar’ei, a civilian.
- Mohammed Mahmoud Abian, a civilian.
- The laboratory physician, Ahmad Omar Isa, a civilian.
- Abdelazeem Ahmad Jaqoum, a civilian.
- Aref Jbraeel, a civilian.
- Yousef Bakrish, a civilian.
- Hamoudeh Faisal Ibrahim, a civilian.
- Deebo Abdulqader Deebo, a civilian.
- Hasan Ibrahim Shweif, a civilian.
- Ghassan Ayoub, a civilian.
- Hussam Zreiq, a civilian.
- Abderrazaq Ali al-Ameer, a civilian.
- Mohammed Hussein Hijazi, a civilian.
- Ali Faker Rasheed, a civilian.
- Nasir Ahmad Hajer, a civilian.
- Mohammed Sultan, a civilian.
- Mostafa Ahmad Da’doush, a civilian.
- Anas Hayed, a civilian.
- Hasan Khalifa, a civilian.
- Hussein Qasim, a civilian.
- Khalloq Hallaq, a civilian.
- Ahmad Hussein Jablawi, a civilian.
- Mohammed Nour Hayed, a civilian.
- Khalid Mearzaf, a civilian.
- Ammar Hussam Barakat, a civilian.
- Mostafa Hamdan, a civilian.
- Redwan Ayoub Haj Hamada, a civilian.
- Mohammed Munir Saleh, a civilian.
- Mohammed Abdo Haj Mar’ei, a civilian.
- Murshid al-Mahrouq, a civilian.
- Naji Sheikh Ibrahim, a civilian.
- Ahmad Othman, a civilian.
- Ahmad Othman’s wife, a woman.
- Asma Riyad Khalil, a woman.
- Zanoub Sheikh Abdel hay, a woman.
- Hiba Othman, a woman from al-Leramon.
- Rowaida Shawa, a woman.
- Zahra Hussein Jablawi, a woman from Kefr Nouran town.
- Moayad Abdo Waheeba, a child,.
- The daughter of Mohammed Qayes Haj Mar’ei, a child.
- Ayman Abdo Karbo Zarzor, a handicapped child with polio.
- Ahmad Saied Ibrahim, a missing child.
List of Police Officers Killed in Shelling the Free Police Station Located at the Entrance to the Main Market in Atarib
- Mohammed Abderrazaq al-Faj, a police officer.
- Yamen Saeed ash-Shon, a police officer.
- Hamdo Saeed ash-Shon, a police officer.
- Omar Mohammed Deeb Shahoud, a police officer.
- Hussein Sha’alan Abderrazaq, a police officer.
- Mostafa Mohammed Othman, a police officer.
- Jbraeel AbdlWahid Jbraeel, a police officer.
- Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim, a police officer.
- Ahmad Abdo Taher, a police officer.
- Hamdi Ways al-Ali, a police officer.
- Mohammed Hamdo Hamdo, a police officer.
- Fadl Mohammed Eid Abdurrahman, a police officer.
- Basil Mohammed Shahid al-Hussein as-Sawadi.
As STJ reporter confirmed, this is not the first time that the main market in Atarib have been targeted, as it has already been targeted twice by warplanes likely to be affiliated with the Russian Air force, one of them on July 24, 2016 and the other on April 24, 2014. The two attacks resulted in a few civilian casualties, mostly women and children.
On the other hand, STJ reporter believes that the objective of the military escalation adapted by the Syrian regular forces and their allies recently, especially the bombing that has claimed the lives of many civilians in the market of Atarib city, is only for the purpose of pressing more pressure on the Syrian people to accept any decision related to the future of the political settlement.
STJ had earlier published a report, talking about dozens of civilian casualties due to shelling a popular market in Ma’arat Nu’man town located in Idlib countryside on October 8, 2017.
 It is a civil institution whose work is to assist civilians, organize markets, resolve disputes between civilians, organize the traffic in the streets, and to maintain its security and stability.
 Faylaq al-Sham: was announced on March 10, 2014, it is one of the largest factions of the Syrian armed opposition, and is one of the largest formations of the opposition military delegation that participated in Astana Talks. Faylaq al-Sham is distributed in several areas, including the southern and northern Idlib countryside, the western countryside of Aleppo and the northern countryside of Homs.